The Federal Government said on Monday that the Nigerian Postal Service, NIPOST, would be repositioned to provide e-commerce and e-government services in 2017.
The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, made this known when he featured at the News Agency of Nigeria Forum in Abuja.
Mr. Shittu said the e-commerce and e-government services would be in addition to its mandate of letter and parcel distribution.
He said it was popular knowledge that ICT was the way to go for all economies today, whether an economy under recession, under slow growth or a fast growing one.
“ICT assists in making life better, it enables businesses to be run more efficiently and even enables governments to be run properly and more beneficially to the citizenry.
“That is why NIPOST wants to leverage on it to expand its scope of service delivery by engaging in e-commerce.
“Today in Nigeria and throughout the world, individuals have set up companies for purpose of e-commerce, NIPOST has better reputation and better logistic facilities to provide this e-commerce services.
“If you are in Abuja and you want to buy something in Kano, you simply go to a NIPOST facility, pay there and then the money is transmitted to the seller anywhere they are.
“NIPOST will assist in bringing those goods you have purchased to your doorstep. This will happen through NIPOST e-commerce services,’’ he said.
The minister said that this would of great advantage to citizens, because NIPOST has a wide reach across the country so that distance or the weight of the goods would not be a hindrance.
On e-government services, Mr. Shittu said that technology would be used to ensure that everybody who needed government service got it and on time.
“For instance, rather than go to the passport office, if you want to renew your passport, and you know that in most states there is only one passport office you have to go from wherever you are to the state capital to get your passport renewed.
“With our NIPOST e-government services, you don’t have to go there. You go to a postal agency or a post office you pay and fill the form online and the passport is renewed for you,” he said.
Mr. Shittu said the ministry was prepared to make good use of technology to promote good governance and engage NIPOST optimally.
He also said the ministry would soon establish a Nigerian Postal Service Property Development Company.
The minister said that the idea of the property company came about because of the vast land asset of the agency across the country lying fallow.
“We thought that instead of leaving this land completely unutilised, we can also lease part of it to private developers to develop these landed property into shopping complexes, offices shopping, malls, markets and even into paid garages so as to provide services to members of the public,’’ he said.
The minister said that NIPOST would also introduce transport and logistics services with its array of vehicles.
He said that the vehicles were being underutilised merely as mail vans and most of them were lying waste, adding that they could be converted to commercial uses and generate revenue for the agency.
“We are introducing what we call NIPOST transport and logistics services, because NIPOST and mail carriage necessarily involve vehicles, because you have to have vehicles to go from one location to the other.
“These vehicles are being under utilised in our estimation because it merely carries mails.
“We could accelerate the benefit of these vehicles by also utilising them to help in carrying merchandise for people.
“The NIPOST transport and logistics services will be a company where the use of these vehicles will be commercialised to ensure that we make more money for NIPOST and consequently for Nigeria.
“Apart from servicing the needs of the citizenry, it will also be able to earn very good revenue for government,’’ Shittu said.
He, therefore, called on Nigerians to use these ventures when they are finally in the public domain for more revenue to be generated for the government.
He said with more income, government would be better placed to improve the quality of life of the citizens.